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THE EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI OF JULY 21, 365 AD IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN SEA - Review of Impact on the Ancient World - Assessment of Recurrence and Future Impact

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Author(s): George Pararas-Carayannis

Journal: Science of Tsunami Hazards
ISSN 8755-6839

Volume: 30;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 253;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: tectonics | Eastern Mediterranean Sea | 365 AD earthquake | tsunami

ABSTRACT
There is ample evidence indicating that on July 21, 365 AD a great earthquake near the west coast of the Island of Crete generated a mega-tsunami, which was responsible for extensive destruction throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, but particularly on Peloponnesus, the Greek Islands, Sicily, Libya, Cyprus, Palestine and Egypt. It is believed that the combined catastrophic impacts of the earthquake and tsunami were significant catalysts in furthering the declination of the Roman Empire and contributing to its subsequent final division between the East Roman and the West (Byzantine) empires in 395 A.D. In view of subsequent earthquakes and tsunamis in the region and the high probability that a similar great disaster will occur again, the present study reviews and summarizes the seismo-tectonic and kinematic characteristics of the Aegean and Anatolian micro-plates, their interaction with the African and Eurasian tectonic plates and examines and evaluates the historical records pertaining to this 4th Century AD disaster as to the destructive impact it had on the ancient world. Additionally, the study reconciles the impact described in historical and recent records with results obtained by numerical modeling studies, provides a rough estimate of the recurrence frequency of great tsunamigenic earthquakes in the Eastern Mediterranean region and assesses what the future impact may be in view of great increases in population densities along coastal areas.
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